Studivz is the German clone of the social network Facebook and is used by millions of German students. Since 2006 there’ve been a lot of discussions about privacy issues, data protection, and what could happen if you trust all your private data to a social community. This is the story of two bots who wanted to spread some love and fun in the student community, written in PHP and able to missuse the community’s functions.
The first bot, Hoebot, was looking for great parties and hot girls. He automatically visited and SAVED the profiles of 10,000 students, and left awesome ASCII graphics on the public profiles such as „the bitchslap“ or „the beertruck“. He was also able to „poke“ people.
Hoebot got a couple hundred reactions of „real“ hot chicks inviting him to partys or just saying: „who the fuck are you?“
Since the people really liked Hoebot, we went a little bit further and created „the Lovebot“. Lovebot is able to use the personal data, collected by Hoebot, such as: political orientation, single or not single, favourite movies, education and much more.
Lovebot visited the student profiles and left personal hook-up messages to guys and girls, who are apparently single and maybe looking for a new partner. The message was saying: „Hi Martin, Sarah feels so alone. Why don’t you visit her profile? This is her profile Number: xxxxxxxxx“ Sarah got the same message, addressed the other way around.
Since especially girls loved the Hoebot, especially girls hated the Lovebot. Again, we got hundreds of reactions like: „You psychos, why don’t you care about your own crap and leave me alone“ or „I don’t want you helping me with finding a boyfriend, stop intervening my privacy.“ or „Thanks alot Lovebot, this is really nice of you.“
In the end both bot accounts were deleted by the admins, and after publishing the documentation of the hack, we had to be really careful because the company investigated against us, which lead to a pretty huge media feedback, enriching the discussions about giving away personal data on the internet without thinking about what could happen to it.
Finally the social network forbid the usage of our crawler software by creating new terms of conditions, and reinforcing the usage of captchas.
Exposure on Google
The project was not over though, we presented the pictures and names of all the couples, that Lovebot virtually hooked-up in a very romantic way on our website. Many people got angry, because this webpage was always on the top of the google search results of their names. They sent messages like „Please remove me from this website, because I am looking for a job, and this could damage my reputation.“ or „Remove me from this website, or i’m gonna sue you!“. So we removed their last name after a year of beeing bombed by angry google users.
Here is the link to the detailed project documentation (in german).
AND FINALLY: Here is the link to the awesome romantic hook-up documentation:
Lovebot Hook-up Log
(turn up the volume and enjoy)
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